Shanahan said Monday he's worried about Griffin's health in the final three games after he's been sacked 24 times in the last five games (and 38 for the season). Kirk Cousins would start in his place -- and if he does it will be for the final three games. Shanahan stressed that he hasn't made a final decision, but will do so in the next two days. He also said Griffin is healthy, which makes this potential decision a curious one as the Redskins (3-10) prepare to face the equally disappointing Atlanta Falcons (3-10) on Sunday.
Shanahan has said in recent weeks that he wanted Griffin to keep playing because he needed as much time as possible on the field to develop. Griffin missed last offseason while rehabbing his surgically-repaired right knee.
"I've got to do what's best for the organization," Shanahan said. "If we feel the best thing for the organization is doing that for Robert, then hopefully Robert will understand why we're doing it. We're doing it because he's a franchise quarterback and we want him to be able to go into the offseason and get full preparation and be ready for next year rather than playing one of the next three games and all of a sudden he sets himself back with a possible injury, whatever that may be."
Shanahan said he would discuss any move like this with owner Daniel Snyder, as speculation swirls about the coach's job security. The trouble would occur if Snyder views this move differently, possibly as a way to upset the owner and quarterback. For his part, Griffin said Sunday he had no doubt he'd be the team's starter against the Falcons.
Shanahan said he spoke with Snyder on Monday morning and while he did not disclose the nature of that conversation, he did spend a little more than 24 minutes of Monday's news conference discussing his relationship with Snyder and a possible move involving Griffin. And that will only lead to more chatter about Shanahan's potential motives should he end up benching Griffin for the rest of the season.
However, for the first time, Shanahan acknowledged that a decision about his future with the Redskins could be made in the offseason, while stating he wants to return.
"You always want to come back," Shanahan said. "I love these [players]. At the end of the season we'll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide -- he'll make the final decision -- on what's in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I'll give my opinion on what I think. Obviously he'll make the final decision. ... We've got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them."
Shanahan's status for next season entering last weekend was questionable. It was downgraded to doubtful after an ESPN.com report Sunday detailing his displeasure over the nature of the Griffin-Snyder relationship, followed later in the day by a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs -- which followed a number of stories in recent weeks discussing the nature of Shanahan's relationship with Griffin as well as that of his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and Griffin.